In the past three years, the Himachal government gave 526 sanctions under a law that bars the transfer of land to non-agriculturists. One of these cleared the decks for Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to buy land at Chharabra, 13 km from Shimla, for the purpose of horticulture.
In a written reply to a question from Dharampur legislator Mahendra Singh in the assembly here on Monday, revenue minister Kaul Singh Thakur said between August 1, 2012, and July 31, 2015, sanction under Section 118 of the Himachal Pradesh Tenancy and Land Reforms Act, 1972, had been given to various individuals, forms, trusts, and societies, and the deadline for land registration extended in 80 cases, including that of Priyanka.
On March 14, 2013, she was allowed to buy land under different khasra numbers — 269/73 and 69/2. The Act permits only 500 square metres for house construction. The rest (4 acres or 30 bigha in Priyanka’s case) has to be for horticulture.